IMDb > Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)

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Los Angeles Plays Itself -- A film by Thom Andersen.

A Cinema Guild Release.


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Thom Andersen (text)
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A documentary on how Los Angeles has been used and depicted in the movies. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Is there an Editor in the house? Uneven, unstructured See more (32 total) »


Encke King ... Narrator (voice)

Directed by
Thom Andersen 
Writing credits
Thom Andersen (text)

Produced by
Thom Andersen .... producer
Cinematography by
Deborah Stratman 
Film Editing by
Seung-Hyun Yoo 
Sound Department
Thor Moser .... sound
Craig Smith .... sound
Editorial Department
Peter Bo Rappmund .... addtional editing

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
169 min

Did You Know?

Factual errors: The narration describes architect John Lautner's famous Chemosphere house as "a hexagon of wood, steel, and glass." The Chemosphere is octagonal.See more »
Movie Connections:
Features A Passion to Kill (1994)See more »


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11 out of 20 people found the following review useful.
Is there an Editor in the house? Uneven, unstructured, 30 May 2004
Author: smccallister from Seattle, WA - USA

Clocking in at about 2 hours and 45 minutes, there's some good material here, but it would only make a good documentary of about 100 minutes. Which means it runs over an hour too long, made worse by the fact that there's very little structure, so that as it meanders from topic to topic, you have no sense of where the film is headed, and how much damn longer it's going to last. Symptomatically, when the film did end, it ended abruptly -- without a resolution to any of the themes or even a "goodbye". Last of a series of vignettes and a jump cut to credits.

I saw this at the Seattle International Film Festival, and it's the first film I've seen this year that had more than a few audience walk-outs.

All of which is a shame, because there's interesting stuff here, great clips around the general theme of how the city has been portrayed in film and comparing historical realities with portrayals in films as diverse as "Chinatown" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit". The understated tone of the narrator is at time effective, and at other times just drones on too long or too polemical...

While the film is nominally about the portrayal of Los Angeles in the movies, it meanders from segments on architecture to political and law enforcement scandals, to discussions of class and race. Again, there's some interesting material on almost all of these topics, but it never gels and is at least an hour longer than it should be. Too bad.

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